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TravelGuides – Michigan school shooting: artist did not know suspect’s parents stayed in studio, lawyer says | Michigan

TravelGuides – Michigan school shooting: artist did not know suspect’s parents stayed in studio, lawyer says | Michigan

A Detroit-area artist in whose studio the parents of the Oxford High School student charged in a deadly shooting were found by police is cooperating with authorities, his attorney said on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, the Michigan attorney general, Dana Nessel, said her office could conduct a third-party investigation of school events before the shooting that left four students dead and six others and a teacher wounded.

Ethan Crumbley, 15, is charged as an adult with murder, terrorism and other crimes. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, face charges of involuntary manslaughter. They pleaded not guilty on Saturday as a judge imposed a combined $1m bond.

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The Crumbleys were found early on Saturday inside a Detroit commercial building. Their attorneys have said they didn’t intend to flee authorities. According to attorney Clarence Dass, the couple went to artist Andrzej Sikora’s studio at the building on Friday morning but the artist was unaware of the charges against them or that they stayed after he left.

Dass said Sikora, 65, had a “friendly relationship”’ with the Crumbleys but declined to give details. Dass said when Sikora woke on Saturday and heard news of the Crumbleys being taken into custody, he contacted authorities who had been looking for the couple since Friday.

“There was a lot of confusion and the Crumbleys went to him for safety. He didn’t know about the charges,” Dass said. “They were there in the daytime. He left in the early evening. He didn’t even know they were still there.”

Detroit police have said the Crumbleys “were aided in getting into the building” and that a person who helped may face charges. Detroit police did not have further information on Sunday.

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Oakland County undersheriff Michael McCabe confirmed that authorities would interview Sikora, whose work, largely murals, can be found around the Detroit area.

Earlier, the Oxford Community Schools superintendent, Tim Throne, said he had called for a third-party investigation of events before the shooting because it was “critically important to the victims, our staff and our entire community that a full and transparent accounting be made”.

Oakland county prosecutor Karen McDonald has detailed warning signs observed from Ethan Crumbley.

School officials became concerned on Monday when a teacher saw him searching for ammunition on his phone. On Tuesday, a teacher found a note on Ethan’s desk and took a photo. It was a drawing of a gun pointing at the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me,” McDonald said. There also was a drawing of a bullet with words above it: “Blood everywhere.” Between the gun and the bullet was a person who appeared to have been shot twice and was bleeding. “My life is useless” and “The world is dead” also were written.

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Ethan Crumbley and his parents met school officials at 10am on Tuesday. His parents left and Ethan went back to his classes with his backpack, where investigators believe he stashed a gun. Authorities were not notified, something county sheriff Michael Bouchard said he wishes would have been done.

By 1pm, the school erupted in gunshots, chaos and bloodshed.

Authorities have said the 9mm semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting was bought on Black Friday by James Crumbley as an early Christmas present for his son.

“The school should have been responsible to relay that to the sheriff’s office. It looks like this could have been prevented,” said Robert Jordan, founder and director of St Louis-based Protecting Our Students. “People died because of those mistakes.”

Prosecutor announces Michigan shooter's parents to be charged with manslaughter – video
Prosecutor announces Michigan shooter’s parents to be charged with manslaughter – video

But looking at such an issue after the fact raises other questions, said Christopher Smith, professor of law and public policy at Michigan State University and chair of the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.

You have to consider whether the “teacher and school officials specifically have in their training that you need to report all these things”, he said.

In a video message to the community on Thursday, Throne said “no discipline was warranted” after the meeting with Crumbley and his parents.

On Saturday, Throne said the student claimed the drawing was part of a video game he was designing and that he planned to pursue video game design as a career. He worked on homework while waiting for his parents as counselors watched him.

“At no time did counselors believe the student might harm others based on his behavior, responses and demeanor, which appeared calm,” Throne said.

“While both of his parents were present, counselors asked specific probing questions regarding the potential for self-harm or harm to others,“ Throne said, adding counseling was recommended and his parents were told they had 48 hours to seek it.

“When the parents were asked to take their son home for the day, they flatly refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work.”

He said that the student had no prior disciplinary infractions so he was allowed to return to the classroom instead of being “sent home to an empty house”.

TravelGuides – Michigan school shooting: artist did not know suspect’s parents stayed in studio, lawyer says | Michigan

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